Dragon’s Head

Speaking of eyes following you around the room, this Dragon Optical Illusion is pretty cool. You make it out of paper and sellotape, and move around it with one eye closed. The head seems to move and follow you around. (There’s a PDF to make the model, and a video to watch if you can’t be bothered.) Here’s the one I made:

dragon.jpg

The head’s actually folded inwards, but we’re so used to 3D objects bulging outwards that we see the model as if it’s moving instead of its true shape. You don’t even need to close one eye–from a few feet away it’s pretty compelling. A neat instance of the visual system’s assumptions dominating our current knowledge.

Hack 101: Make Eyes (or Anything) in Pictures Follow You Round The Room

The eyes of some pictures seem to follow you around the room, like those of the famous WWI recruitment poster which helped garner almost 3 million volunteers in two years:

kitchener.jpg

Try it. Get up and look at your screen from the side. Is he still looking at you? He should be.

Recently published research in the journal Perception [1] discusses how this effect works. The story was covered in the press (e.g. here). Turned around into a ‘how to’ rather than a simple ‘explanation’ it’s perfect material for a hack. I saw it too late to include in the book so I’m putting it here.

So here we go: How can you design pictures of faces with eyes that will follow you round the room?

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